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Run Vanilla OS X El Capitan, Sierra or High Sierra in VMware Workstation 12 on a Windows Host

VMware Workstation 12 Player Windows Virtual Machine Vanilla VMware unlocker Clover El Capitan macOS Sierra macOS High Sierra

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#1
fusion71au

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Run Vanilla OS X El Capitan, Sierra, or High Sierra in VMware Workstation 12 on a Windows Host

 

I wanted to make a simple guide on how to create a vanilla OS X El Capitan virtual machine running on a Windows host.  The virtual machine should be useful for testing El Capitan and also for creating installers for use on a real machine/hackintosh.

 

There are many guides and videos on the net about running OS X on Windows machines using pre-made VMWare disk images but you can never guarantee what else is in there….

 

I’ve gathered info for this guide from various threads in the Multibooting and Virtualisation section of this forum eg

 

Credit and thanks to @Donk, @Albert Nietsnie and @MSOK for all their hard work in creating and testing the VMware Unlocker program.

 

Requirements

  • Intel PC with four or more CPU cores running Windows 7 X64 or later OS (2 or more cores needed for OS X)
  • 4GB or more RAM (2GB or more will be needed for OS X)
  • Hard Disk with at least 40GB free for Virtual Machine
  • VMware Workstation 12 or later
  • VMware Unlocker 2.0.7 or later
  • Install OS X El Capitan app and Mac or Hack to prepare installation iso <-- Now, no longer necessary to have previous access to a Mac or Hack by building the Installer.app from scratch - see post#41
  • 16GB or larger exFAT formatted USB stick to transfer El Capitan iso from Mac/Hack to Host PC

Prepare Installation ISO on your Mac or Hack
1.  On your Mac or Hack, download "Install OS X El Capitan.app" from the App Store into your Applications folder.

2.  Unmount any attached install image/InstallESD.dmg (if currently mounted) by rebooting the system or running the hdiutil unmount command in terminal eg

 

Spoiler

3.  Download and unzip the CECI.tool (attached to this post) into your ~/Downloads folder. The commands in this executable script are shown below for informational purposes….

 

Spoiler

4.  Open OS X terminal, then run the following commands to execute the script:

cd downloads
chmod +x CECI.tool
./CECI.tool

5.  At the end of the process, you will have an El Capitan iso on your desktop - copy this onto an exFAT formatted USB for use on the PC Host later.

 

Update: @shela has created an ISO generating script compatible with OS X 10.6-10.12: create_osx_iso post #362.

 

Install and Patch VMware Workstation 12 on your PC
1.  Download and install VMWare Workstation Player 12 or later
2.  Download and extract Unlocker 2.0.7 or later to your USB stick…
3.  Run the win-install.cmd as administrator by right clicking the file in Windows explorer or run it from an Administrative Command Prompt.

 

Attached File  VMWare_unlocker207.png   73.47KB   347 downloads

Attached File  Run Command Prompt as administrator.png   19.13KB   275 downloads

Attached File  win-install.cmd.png   82.17KB   343 downloads

 

Create an El Capitan Virtual Machine
1.  Double click on the VMware Workstation 12 Player icon on your desktop and click “Create a New Virtual Machine”.  Choose “I will install the operating system later” at the How will you install screen….

 

Attached File  Create a New Virtual Machine.png   86.68KB   367 downloads

2.  Select Apple Mac OS X as the Guest operating system and OS X 10.11 as the version.  By default, an OS X 10.11 folder will be created in your Documents\Virtual Machines folder.

 

Attached File  Select a Guest Operating System.png   67.72KB   333 downloads

Attached File  Name the Virtual Machine.png   66.74KB   208 downloads

3.  Under Specify Disk Capacity, you can leave the default 40GB or set a larger value.  I personally store the virtual disk as a single file.  Click Finish and you will see OS X 10.11 on the Main Screen of Workstation 12.

 

Attached File  Store virtual disk as a single file.png   72.85KB   207 downloads

Attached File  Finish.png   73.02KB   184 downloads

4.  Next, we need to edit the virtual machine settings to map the virtual SATA CD/DVD drive to the El Capitan installation iso we created earlier.

 

Attached File  Edit virtual machine settings.png   55.37KB   498 downloads

Attached File  Browse for ISO image file or use physical drive.png   258.6KB   443 downloads

 
5.  To prevent the virtual machine from crashing in Windows, the virtualHW.version set in the vmx configuration file needs to be changed from 12 to 10 (alternatively, the line smc.version = "0" can be added to the file).  The OS X 10.11.vmx file can be edited with the WordPad program (navigate to the OS X 10.11 virtual machine folder with Windows Explorer and right click on the file to open in WordPad).

 

Attached File  Edit vmx file with WordPad.png   43.05KB   457 downloads

Attached File  Set virtualHW.version to 10 or SMC=0.png   568.04KB   486 downloads

 

6.  For HW10, set USB compatibility to USB 2.0, otherwise your mouse and keyboard might not work in the virtual machine.

 

Attached File  Set USB compatibility to USB 2.0.png   242.06KB   383 downloads

7.  Finally click “Play virtual machine”

 

Attached File  Play VM.png   12.94KB   132 downloads

Installation of El Capitan
Installation should be relatively straight forward, just following the prompts of the OS X installer:
1.  Select language, agree to legal terms

 

Attached File  Select language, agree to legal terms.png   219.79KB   91 downloads

2.  Use Disk Utility from the Utilities Menu to erase and format the virtual hard drive as a single partition GUID Mac OS X Extended.  I’ve named the drive Macintosh HD but you can enter whatever you like eg El_Capitan.

 

Attached File  OS X Installer Utilities - Disk Utility.png   216.93KB   147 downloads

Attached File  Open Disk Utility from Utilities Menu.png   258.79KB   129 downloads

Attached File  Erase disk and name Macintosh HD.png   260.92KB   155 downloads

3.  Quit DU and choose Macintosh HD to install El Capitan on.

 

Attached File  Choose Macintosh HD.png   259.19KB   75 downloads

4.  After 20-30 min (depending on how fast your system is), the installation will complete and the VM will automatically reboot…

 

Attached File  Reboot for first time.png   15.99KB   51 downloads

5.  At the welcome screen, choose your country and keyboard layout.  You can skip transfer information, location services and logging in with your Apple ID if you wish…

 

Attached File  Welcome choose country and keyboard.png   260.98KB   33 downloads

Attached File  Transfer Information, location services, AppleID, terms and conditions.png   258.86KB   46 downloads

6.  Create a User Account and select your Time Zone.  You can skip sending diagnostics and usage data to Apple….

 

Attached File  Create a Computer Account.png   240.6KB   39 downloads

Attached File  Select Time Zone, Send Diagnostics and Usage Data.png   265.61KB   32 downloads

7.  Finally, you will arrive at the El Capitan Desktop.  You should eject the Installation iso now by right clicking and selecting “Eject OS X Base System”.  This will allow you to install VMware Tools….

 

Attached File  El Capitan Desktop.png   1.51MB   62 downloads

Attached File  Eject OS X Base System Installer to install VMware Tools.png   1.35MB   132 downloads

Attached File  Install VMware Tools.png   1.26MB   186 downloads

8.  After rebooting, the VM can now be resized or run at full screen resolution.  Audio and network/internet should also work OOB.

 

Attached File  System Information.png   966.42KB   118 downloads

 

SMBIOS Customization and iMessage Vars

To make the Virtual Machine more "Mac like", you can edit the vmx file to add unique identifiers from a real Mac's SMBIOS -

eg for an iMac 11,3 SMBIOS, you can enter the following lines....

smbios.reflectHost = "FALSE"
board-id.reflectHost = "FALSE"
board-id = "Mac-F2238BAE"
hw.model.reflectHost = "FALSE"
hw.model = "iMac11,3"
serialNumber.reflectHost = "FALSE"
serialNumber = "W80#######6"

Refer How to spoof real Mac in VMware - Multi-booting and Virtualisation.

 

The critical variables for iMessage/Facetime activation are MLB & ROM.  By default, VMware "reflects" the host's MLB and ROM since it assumes you are running the OSX guest on a real Mac host - see post#42 by @Donk.

 

If the host is a Windows PC, the following lines need to be added to the vmx file (requires virtualHW.version 12 and smc.version = "0")....

efi.nvram.var.ROM.reflectHost = "FALSE"
efi.nvram.var.MLB.reflectHost = "FALSE"
system-id.enable = "TRUE"

and the MLB, ROM and optionally system-id entered manually eg

efi.nvram.var.MLB = "W80######BA1A" (MLB can be 13 or 17 characters long, alphanumeric string)
efi.nvram.var.ROM = "<=>?@A" (ROM is entered here as a 6 character ASCII string)
uuid.bios = "## ## ## ## ## ## ## ##-## ## ## ## ## ## ## ##" <---Optional (if you want to inject a given system-id hexadecimal value)

Note the output for ROM from imessage_debug is a 12 character hexadecimal that needs to be entered here as a 6 character ASCII string eg using an Hex to ASCII converter we find that "3c3d3e3f4041" hex is equivalent to   "<=>?@A".

 

Vanilla Mavericks and Yosemite

The same VM settings for El Capitan will also boot and run vanilla installations of OS X Mavericks and Yosemite :).  Attached to this post are installer scripts to create bootable Mavericks (CMI.tool) and Yosemite (CYI.tool) ISOs for VirtualBox and VMware.

 

With the respective OS X installer apps in the Applications folder, download and run the installer tools using terminal ie

 

To create a Mavericks ISO on your desktop

cd downloads
chmod +x CMI.tool
./CMI.tool

To create a Yosemite ISO on your desktop

cd downloads
chmod +x CYI.tool
./CYI.tool

Here is a screenshot of the VM running Mavericks 10.9.5...

 

Attached File  Vanilla Mavericks on VMware.jpg   169.54KB   86 downloads

 

Enjoy :)

 

Update for Sierra 10.12

The above settings still work for macOS Sierra after upgrading to VMware Workstation 12.5 and unlocker 2.0.8 - see post #13.

 

Update for High Sierra 10.13

See post#30 & post#41 which describes how to build "Install macOS High Sierra.app" on the fly from installer files downloaded beforehand in /SharedSupport folder.

Attached Files



#2
midi_senpai.pkg™

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You just saved the life of millions :frantics:

Bp4l2CYIQAA5FdP.jpg



#3
Donk

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Excellent tutorial.



#4
eriks

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You can get imessage working (if it isn't already) by adding the following to VMWare configuration file (OS X 10.11.vmx):

 

efi.nvram.var.ROM.reflectHost = "FALSE"
efi.nvram.var.MLB.reflectHost = "FALSE"
efi.nvram.var.ROM = "XXXXXX" [6 digit decimal]
efi.nvram.var.MLB = "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX" [16 digit hexadecimal]
 
You can use a random number for ROM and MLB.


#5
fusion71au

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El Capitan Recovery Partition

Sometimes you may need to boot into El Capitan's Recovery Partition to disable SIP (System Integrity Protection) to install a particular kext or application.

 

The quickest way to achieve this is by simultaneously holding down the <Windows> and <R> keys as your El Capitan virtual machine is booting up and you see the VMware logo.  Ensure you click inside the VM window first so that your keystrokes are registered!

 

Once you reach the GUI to select your language and are presented with OS X Utilities, open the terminal app and type csrutil disable as shown below, then reboot the VM...

 

Attached File  OS X Utilities El_Capitan.png   341.53KB   19 downloads

Attached File  csrutil in recovery.png   329.61KB   20 downloads

 

Adding the Recovery Partition as an entry to the VMware Boot Manager

If you are unable to directly boot into the recovery partition with <Windows>+<R>, another method is to add the Recovery HD as a boot option to VMware's EFI Boot Manager.  Procedure courtesy of @EMR from the VMware forums:

 

1.  Once your El Capitan virtual machine has been completely shut down, open the VM's vmx file with Wordpad and add the line

bios.bootDelay = "3000"

Save the file and restart the virtual machine.

2.  As the virtual machine starts booting, click anywhere inside its window and press <F2> when you see the "VMware" logo.  Most likely the Boot Manager will only display one useful option ("Mac OS X") which lets you boot your OS X virtual machine but no option will appear for the Recovery HD.  Use your down-arrow key until you get to "Enter setup".  Press Enter.  That will take you to the Boot Maintenance Manager:

 

Attached File  Boot Manager Enter setup0.png   65.37KB   26 downloads

 

3.  Don't move the focus away from "Configure boot options". Press Enter. That will take you to the "Configure boot option" menu.

 

Attached File  Configure Boot Options.png   66.1KB   21 downloads

4.  Don't move the focus away from "Add boot option". Press Enter. That will take you to File Explorer, in which a series of boot files are displayed.

 

Attached File  Add boot option.png   64.75KB   18 downloads

5.  Using your down-arrow key, navigate to the "file" whose name begins with "Recovery HD". Press Enter. You'll remain in File Explorer.

 

Attached File  Recovery HD.png   82.47KB   17 downloads

6.  Using your down-arrow key, navigate to "<com.apple.recovery.boot>". Press Enter. You'll remain in File Explorer.

 

Attached File  com.apple.recovery.boot.png   65.5KB   16 downloads

7.  Using your down-arrow key, navigate to "boot.efi". Press Enter. That will take you to the "Modify Boot Option Description".

 

Attached File  boot.efi.png   58.58KB   19 downloads

 

8.  Don't move the focus away from "Input the description". Enter whatever description you deem appropriate. For instance, enter "Recovery HD".

 

Attached File  Input the description.png   59.73KB   17 downloads

Attached File  Please type your data.png   70.59KB   18 downloads

 

9.  Then, on the same screen, select "Commit changes and exit".

 

Attached File  Commit changes and exit.png   66.97KB   14 downloads

 

10.  From that point on, whenever you go to your virtual machine's "Boot Manager", there'll be a "Recovery HD" option, which is the one you should select to go to your Recovery HD.

 

Attached File  Boot Recovery HD.png   63.81KB   13 downloads

 

Install and configure Clover for your VMware guest

In this mini guide, I'll show how to install and configure Clover for an El Capitan guest running in VMware.

 

Why install Clover?

  • Clover acts as a boot manager so you can select partitions other than your main OSX installation to boot eg the Recovery HD.
  • By selecting a volume and then the <Spacebar> key, you can boot in verbose mode, safe mode or single user mode to diagnose and fix booting problems.
  • By setting the CsrActiveConfig in Clover's config.plist to 0x67 or 0x0, you can disable or enable El Capitan's SIP without needing to boot into the Recovery Partition.
  • Finally by entering various serials in Clover's config.plist (SMBIOS and Rt Variables), you can customise your VM for iMessage/Facetime/iCloud activation purposes.

Pre-requisites

Installation of Clover

Spoiler

 

Configure Clover's config.plist with Clover Configurator

Spoiler

 

Booting into OSX with Clover
1.  Click play in VMware's main screen to start your OSX guest, then click inside the VM window to focus mouse/keyboard input to the VM.
2.  After the VMware splash screen, you will see Clover's main menu with El Capitan and its Recovery HD to choose from.

 

Attached File  Clover on VMware1.png   310.33KB   23 downloads

3.  Pressing <Spacebar> will allow you to choose special booting modes eg verbose, safe mode, single user verbose mode.

 

Attached File  Clover on VMware2 - verbose.png   278.91KB   25 downloads

4.  When you reach the desktop after logging in, the "System Information" screen will now be more realistic.  Instead of just "Mac" and the VMware 7,1 model identifier, you'll have something like the picture below.  You can confirm your iMessage serials by running iMessage debug....

 

Attached File  About Screen and iMessage debug.png   105.79KB   28 downloads

 

Addendum: 

The official Clover releases from SourceForge after r3423, compiled with Xcode5, don't seem to work well in Virtual Machines.

 

Attached to this post is Clover r4332 (compiled with gcc5,3 in Linux) and a minimal Clover config.plist for VMware - the end result of editing with Clover configurator as described above.  Tested with unlocked Workstation 12 running OSX 10.9 -->10.13 guest in Windows X64 host.

 
Installation
1. Download and unzip EFI folder from "EFI_Clover_r4332 for VMware.zip"
2. Mount your VM's EFI System Partition eg in terminal
diskutil mount disk0s1
3. Copy EFI folder from step 1 into the EFI partition.
4. Reboot your VM.
 
Substitute your own unique and valid MLB and ROM variables in the /EFI/CLOVER/config.plist (Rt Variables section) to activate iMessage/Facetime on your VM.

Attached Files



#6
chris1111

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fusion71au do you know  Timothy Sutton ?

https://github.com/timsutton

 

He as create for long time a go OS X-VM-Templates

Take a look on this work

https://github.com/t...sx-vm-templates



#7
wen1

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Excellent guide.

Got it working on my surface pro 3 with imessage



#8
KenV99

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I got iMessage working without Clover.

1) Use Chameleon Wizard to generate name, board and serial in the VM once it's running: http://wizards.osxla...n/download.html

2) Choose a MAC address (make it easy on your self and pick one that coverts to characters easily): http://hwaddress.com/?q=Apple

3) Put that in the vmx for the static ethernet address

4) Covert that to ascii and use it for the ROM: http://www.rapidtabl...ex-to-ascii.htm

5) Run this MLB Generator and use the generated MLB: https://gist.github....b46b14061d4c995

 

Then login to iMessage. I got no request to contact Apple or anything.



#9
backwards

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first post—just wanted to say "thanks" for this.



#10
juker7245

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I have followed the instructions for creating the ISO but when trying to boot to it i get the below screen.  I am running VMware Workstation 12.1 on a Windows 10 Laptop.  I have run add the SMC.Version line to the vmx file and have been able to run an OS X from a vmdk file, but I have not been able to do a Vanilla install.  Any help is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Tim

Attached Files



#11
1qazaq1

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Hi,

 

Using ESXi 6 with some real hardware pass-through. HW that I'm using is PCIe adapter for broadcom WiFi/BT that is natively supported in OSX and Nvidia GT610 (both were working out of the box on Mavericks using myHack on a real Dell hardware). So now I've decided to go virtual but have full 3D support and real network that allows me to use continuum feature.

 

ESXi is patched, installation went successful. Network card is recognized without any issues but video is not. I can see it in system information GPU is seen but memory is reported incorrectly (128mb instead of 2gb). So the issue is - I cannot use my video card - virtual video is taking priority. 

 

Please advise.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  nv.PNG   131.36KB   12 downloads


#12
iyyang

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Hello,

 

Thanks for the great post and I have successfully installed macOS on my ThinkPad.

 

FYI. I've recently forked the spoiler for installer, and created my version for macOS Sierra. It's tested to be working fine.

 

https://gist.github....218e7576f917b5 

 

-S



#13
fusion71au

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Update for Sierra GM

The host settings from post#1 still work for macOS Sierra.  After upgrading to VMware Workstation 12.5 and unlocker 2.0.8, select Apple Mac OS X as the Guest operating system and macOS 10.12 as the version.

 

To prepare the Sierra ISO on your Mac or Hack:

 

1.  On your Mac or Hack, download/copy "Install macOS Sierra.app" into your Applications folder.

2.  Unmount any attached install image/InstallESD.dmg (if currently mounted) by rebooting the system or running the hdiutil unmount command in terminal eg

 

Spoiler

3.  Download and unzip the CSI.tool (attached to this post) into your ~/Downloads folder. The commands in this executable script are shown below for informational purposes.  Note: you will need approx 16GB of free space on your hard disk for the script to complete.

Spoiler
 

4.  Open OS X terminal, then run the following commands to execute the script:

cd downloads
chmod +x CSI.tool
./CSI.tool

5.  At the end of the process, you will have a Sierra.iso on your desktop - copy this onto an exFAT formatted USB for use on the PC Host later.

6.  Attach the iso to the Virtual Machine on the PC Host and start the installer, run VMware tools etc...

 

 

Attached File  Installing on macOS Sierra.png   278.58KB   43 downloads

Attached File  macOS 10.12.png   1.18MB   26 downloads

Attached Files



#14
loveleeyoungae

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Sierra ISO on your Mac or Hack:

 

1.  On your Mac or Hack, download/copy "Install macOS Sierra.app" into your Applications folder.
2.  Download and unzip the CSI.tool (attached to this post) into your ~/Downloads folder. The commands in this executable script are shown below for informational purposes.  Note: you will need approx 16GB of free space on your hard disk for the script to complete.

 

 

I ran the script on a fresh Virtual El Capitan guest and it gave out errors (see attached picture). What should I do to fix?

 

Attached File  OS X 10.11-2016-09-21-22-53-41.png   282.56KB   38 downloads



#15
asmithau

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I ran the script on a fresh Virtual El Capitan guest and it gave out errors (see attached picture). What should I do to fix?

 

attachicon.gifOS X 10.11-2016-09-21-22-53-41.png

 

Hi,

 

I had this issue also.

 

You need to open a terminal and enter: hdiutil info and find the disk that the disk id that is showing /Volumes/OS X Install ESD

For me this was /dev/disk3s2. For you it may be something else.

Then enter: hdiutil detach /dev/disk3s2 (or whatever yours is).

This will unmount the Sierra.app install image.

 

From there you can run the script as outlined.

 

Thanks

Adam



#16
loveleeyoungae

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Hi,

 

I had this issue also.

 

You need to open a terminal and enter: hdiutil info and find the disk that the disk id that is showing /Volumes/OS X Install ESD

For me this was /dev/disk3s2. For you it may be something else.

Then enter: hdiutil detach /dev/disk3s2 (or whatever yours is).

This will unmount the Sierra.app install image.

 

From there you can run the script as outlined.

 

Thanks

Adam

 

Thanks, but I did not have the chance to try your method. After a restart, the script worked. Whatever, now I could finally start learning about this macOS :)



#17
lawleagle

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A short while after osx starts loading, I get this(below). Any idea how I might fix it?

46cfa0e30aa94077acdd73c23cbdaf2b.png



#18
Matte82

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Hello. I set this up myself a couple of weeks ago on a Dell Precision 7510. Anyway I have one small issue and a question. The small issue is, getting itunes or xcode to recognize when I attach my iPhone. I finally found if I change the settings for the VM's USB from 3.0 to 2.0 it works. But I also have a USB Blu-ray Burner that is USB 3.0 and a few hard drives that are USB 3.0 also. So if I could get USB 3.0 to work that would be great. If not I can get by with 2.0

 

The second question is I realized I had installed the 32-bit version of VMware Player. I have since downloaded the 64-bit version. How hard would it be to switch to the 64-bit version without starting from scratch? Would it even be worth it? I just know OSX has been 64-bit for a couple of versions now. And it seems a bit sluggish. Don't even know if this would make a difference. But everything else I have is 64-bit. Thanks in advance.



#19
scumble

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After some messing about with a Snow Leopard disc I had and not getting anywhere (the "not Mac OSX Server" error), I followed the guide for macos Sierra instead. Installed successfully and appears to be very responsive running from an SSD.

 

I was able to install the VMWare tools and there are no issues with sound/network.

 

VMWare Workstation Player 12.5.2 build-4638234

 

Attached my vmx file Attached File  macosSierra.7z   1.18KB   58 downloads in case it's useful. This was on a Skylake i5 6600K system.

 

The only slight problem I've noticed so far is some graphical glitches on widgets.

2016-11-20 15_21_52-macOS Sierra - VMware Workstation 12 Player (Non-commercial use only).png
 
There is also an issue with moving graphical elements in application windows not updating unless you drag the window around. Must be a graphics driver problem?

Attached Files



#20
erkana

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Hello,

Thank you very much for the guide.

I have installed macOS Sierra using your guide and it is working. One thing I couldn't managed is the resolution of the VM. I have installed the VMWare Tools after macOS installation and restarted the Sierra but still only resolution is 1024*768.

How can I fix this?

Regards.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: VMware Workstation 12 Player, Windows, Virtual Machine, Vanilla, VMware unlocker, Clover, El Capitan, macOS Sierra, macOS High Sierra


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